Watercolor Paints

Make your own paint in just a few steps! Get started on this fun activity right away using supplies that you most likely have in your pantry. I’m happy to say that I can now cross one item off the list of things I wanted to use (or get rid of!) for upcoming projects, as tea-light holders are perfect little watercolor paint pots, practically and aesthetically!


  • 3 T baking soda
  • 3 T cornstarch
  • 3 T white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 t light corn syrup OR substitute glucose syrup by boiling 2 cups sugar with 1 cup of water until you have a clear syrup
  • food coloring
  • watercolor paper
  • tea-light holders
  • toothpicks
  • Small paintbrush or cotton swabs


  1. Make the base of the paint. Mix together the baking soda, cornstarch, white vinegar and corn syrup in a bowl. Stir with toothpicks until the mixture has a frothy milk-like consistency.Watercolor 1
  2. Carefully pour the white base mixture into the tea-light holders, filling them about three quarters of the way.
  3. Make the watercolors by adding drops of food coloring. (Note: Add sparingly; less for lighter shades and more for darker shades.) Stir with toothpicks until the color is consistent throughout. This is a great chance to experiment with color mixing and different shading.
  4. Watercolor 2Paint away! Dip your paintbrush or swab into the tea-light paint dishes and create your masterpiece. If you’re using a paintbrush, have a cup of warm water on hand to clean the brush in between colors. If you’re using swabs, have one per color; each will serve as a mini paintbrush for each color
  5. Hang your artwork around the house. After your little artist signs her work, put the paintings on display. If your children enjoy this craft as much as my kids did, Watercolor 3create a special area in your home for a small “art museum” or showcase.
  6. Tips for success and taking it further:

    – Kids can either make a pencil outline on a piece of paper and color it in, or paint on blank paper. If they’re up for the challenge, I recommend painting on a blank canvas as it allows kids’ creativity to flow in the moment.

    – Introduce kids to different styles of art or artists by visiting art museums or the library – both of which are usually free. Encourage your kids not to copy the artwork, but find inspiration in the different techniques.